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Archive for November 5th, 2015

Jewish Noir

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Jewish Noir: Contemporary Tales of Crime and Other Dark Deeds by Kenneth Wishnia

(Excerpt from Goodreads) A unique collection of all-new stories by award-winning authors.

This anthology includes the work of numerous authors such as Marge Piercy, Harlan Ellison, S. J. Rozan, Nancy Richler, Moe Prager (Reed Farrel Coleman), Wendy Hornsby, Charles Ardai, and Kenneth Wishnia. The stories explore such issues as the Holocaust and its long-term effects on subsequent generations, anti-Semitism in the mid- and late-20th-century United States, and the dark side of the Diaspora (e.g., the decline of revolutionary fervor, the passing of generations, the Golden Ghetto, etc.). The stories in this collection include “Trajectories,” Marge Piercy’s story of the divergent paths taken by two young men from the slums of Cleveland and Detroit in a rapidly changing post–WW II society; “Some You Lose,” Nancy Richler’s empathetic exploration of the emotional and psychological challenges of trying to sum up a man’s life in a eulogy; and “Yahrzeit Candle,” Stephen Jay Schwartz’s take on the subtle horrors of the inevitable passing of time. These works include many “teachable moments” about the history of prejudice, the contradictions of ethnic identity, and assimilation into American society and culture.

Book

My review

4 stars

This is a collection of stories that relates to the Jewish people. They are not just about the Holocaust. You will also find stories ranging from immigrants not finding what they expected, the passing of time and death, equality, religious prosecution, and many others. There are 33 stories in this 400 page book so there is a wide variety of stories that anyone will like.

For me to review a collection of short stories can be difficult. There will always be stories that are wonderful and others that just don’t click for me. These are great, dark and dirty stories, just like good noir. There are some older stories and some that are re-published for this collection. I really liked most of the stories and found myself up late trying to read just one more before bed.

Although being the chosen ones, the Jewish people have faced many tough periods in history. This collection of stories goes into several of those events. This is a great collection and I think anyone would enjoy it. I recommend checking it out, you may find a new favorite author.

To purchase Jewish Noir, or for more information, make sure to check out Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Goodreads, and Kenneth Wishnia’s website.

I received Jewish Noir for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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HILO Book 1: The Boy Who Crashed to Earth by Judd Winick

(Excerpt from Goodreads) D.J. and his friend Gina are totally normal kids. But that was before a mysterious boy came crashing down from the sky! Hilo doesn’t know where he came from, or what he’s doing on Earth. (Or why going to school in only your underwear is a bad idea!) . . . But what if Hilo wasn’t the only thing to fall to our planet? Can the trio unlock the secrets of his past? Can Hilo survive a day at school? And are D.J. and Gina ready to save the world?

Book

My Review

5 stars

DJ Lim is the middle kid in a family with five kids that all excel at different things. Unfortunately DJ is the odd man out and doesn’t have any talents. One day he meets a strange boy that has amnesia and fell from the sky. DJ takes him home and introduces him to what he needs to do to fit in with other people. Slowly the boy remembers his name is HILO. HILO goes with DJ to school and DJ runs into his friend Gina who moved away years prior. The three kids then go on mini adventures as DJ and Gina try to explain human behavior to HILO and HILO starts to remember who he is and how he got to Earth.

This is a cute comic book/graphic novel for mid-grade readers. There are small adventures that would be great for those beginning to read and many funny things that the three kids go through as they trying to teach HILO what to do to fit in. I loved the story especially when you learn about HILO and how he got to Earth. I can’t wait to read the next book to find out what happens to the kids next.

This is a great story for both kids and adults. It would be a wonderful book for the mid-grade readers. Make sure to check out HILO: The Boy Who Crashed to Earth.

To purchase HILO Book 1, or for more information, make sure to check out Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Goodreads, and Judd Winich’s website.

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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The Lady Agnes Mystery Volume 1 by Andrea Japp

(Excerpt from Goodreads) 1304: The Church and the French Crown are locked in a power struggle.

In Normandy, monks on a secret mission are murdered.

Young noblewoman Agnès de Souarcy fights to retain her independence but must face the Inquisition, unaware that she is the focus of an ancient quest.

Book

My Review

4 stars

It is 1304 and Lady Agnes de Souarcy has lost her husband. She is trying to retainer her independence in a world that doesn’t believe a woman has that ability. It doesn’t help that her half-brother may take everything she owns away from her. Then a body is discovered on her property and Agnes now must prove her innocents while facing the Inquisition. Unfortunately just being single and facing murder are not the only reason the Inquisition is after Agnes. There is a prophecy about her. Now she has to do everything in her power to survive the Inquisition to be able to fulfill a destiny she knows nothing about.

During a sensitive time in history, Agnes has lost her husband but she is determined to be independent and not let her half-brother take everything from her. But a strong, independent woman is not a normal occurrence, especially one with a prophecy about her. So the Inquisition steps up and tries to break her.

I loved how no matter what Agnes keep fighting. The Inquisition is so horrible with the torture and trying everything to make her give up but no matter what Agnes keeps fighting. There is a lot of research done into the time period which sucked me right into the story. Andrea Japp is also a forensic scientist and you can see that woven into the story.

I did feel that the story took a while to get going but it was a good story. Although the mystery is not really solved it does lead into volume 2. I am very curious to see what happens in the next book regarding who the killer is and what how the prophecy is going to be fulfilled.

To purchase The Lady Agnes Mystery Volume 1, or for more information, make sure to check out Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Goodreads.

I received The Lady Agnes Mystery Volume 1 for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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Dark Shadows

Releases on November 16, 2015
Add it on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23637290-dark-shadows

My name’s Ella Raimi.
Until last week, my life was pretty normal for a sixteen-year-old. Until I spent that awful night trapped in the janitor’s closet in utter darkness. Until the dreams began — suffocating, panic-filled dreams. My best friend Kyla stays with me, but the dreams still continue. And I wake each morning with cuts & burns on my skin. I don’t recall inflicting them.
And then there is the blood on my hands and my sheets when I wake up.
I’m afraid of myself and what I’ve done.
And I’m beginning to be more afraid of Kyla. And what she will do.

About Toni Vallan
Toni Vallan is the author of two contemporary titles in the contemporary suspense series DESPERATION, and her ongoing Thriller line. Toni loves the dark side of the soul, and studied to become a neuropsychologist. A career path taken over by her first love – writing.

Toni lives in the land of the Hobbits, and secretly wants a Hobbit house, although her husband and two daughters may not agree.

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Releases on November 16, 2015

Add it on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23637290-dark-shadows

My name’s Ella Raimi.

Until last week, my life was pretty normal for a sixteen-year-old. Until I spent that awful night trapped in the janitor’s closet in utter darkness. Until the dreams began — suffocating, panic-filled dreams. My best friend Kyla stays with me, but the dreams still continue. And I wake each morning with cuts & burns on my skin. I don’t recall inflicting them.

And then there is the blood on my hands and my sheets when I wake up.

I’m afraid of myself and what I’ve done.

And I’m beginning to be more afraid of Kyla. And what she will do.

About Toni Vallan

Toni Vallan is the author of two contemporary titles in the contemporary suspense series DESPERATION, and her ongoing Thriller line. Toni loves the dark side of the soul, and studied to become a neuropsychologist. A career path taken over by her first love – writing.
Toni lives in the land of the Hobbits, and secretly wants a Hobbit house, although her husband and two daughters may not agree.

 

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The Dog That Saved Stewart Coolidge by Jim Kraus

(Excerpt from Goodreads) A light-hearted love story about a young couple brought together by a four-legged bandit.


When a stray dog helps himself to a bone from a display in the supermarket, he doesn’t know his actions will brand him a criminal and spark a romance between two humans. Stewart Coolidge works as a bag boy at the store, and his outraged boss offers a reward and demands Stewart catch the thieving animal. He fails at that, but now he finally has the perfect excuse to talk to his cute neighbor, Lisa.

Lisa has always dreamed of being a journalist and asks Stewart if she can interview him for the local paper. As she gets to know Stewart, she likes him more and more, and she’s delighted to learn he shares her Christian faith. Stewart can’t bring himself to tell her she’s mistaken, that he’s not religious at all. And that’s not Stewart’s only deception. When the dog shows up on the doorstep of their building, Stewart decides to harbor the furry fugitive. But this is no ordinary dog, he has a divine sense of how things should be–and recognizing how much Stewart needs Lisa, he decides to do all he can to bring them together.

Book

My Review

5 stars

Stewart is a college graduate working as a bag boy at a grocery story. Hubert is a stray dog that has perfect timing when it comes to snagging bones from the same grocery story. Stewart is giving the task of finding Hubert and is surprised when he appears at his apartment. Stewart decides to keep Hubert in hiding but also uses him to chat with his downstairs neighbor Lisa. Lisa is a college graduate that makes lattes and dreams of being a journalist. Thankfully there is Hubert to bring the two of them together through many challenges and adventures.

This is the first book of Jim Kraus that I have read. I admit that I picked it up because I’m a big animal fan and I wasn’t disappointed. I come to love all three characters as Stewart and Lisa begin a romance and work through many things like Stewart’s lack of religious beliefs and Hubert’s past treatments. This is one of those great books that you will laugh at but in the end not want the story to end. It is truly a heartwarming story.

I’m so glad that I read this book. Now I’m going to check out the other books by Jim Kraus. I heard that The Cat That God Sent is good and being a crazy cat lady that is the next one I’m looking into.

To purchase The Dog That Saved Stewart Coolidge, or for more information, make sure to check out Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Goodreads.

I received The Dog That Saved Stewart Coolidge for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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